New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Year of New Year’s Traditions & Resolutions

New Year's is the closest thing to being the world's only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts.

In waves of celebrations travel across the globe; whether it is the glittering ball in Times Square or a giant cheese wedge in Plymouth, Wisconsin, champagne flutes clink and kisses are exchanged as countless people toast the New Year.

New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar. January 1 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year.

So where did all these traditions and resolutions start?

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring) around what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans tradition of the New Year's goes all the way back to Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar, via their solar calendar which put it in late March.

As their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors it soon became out of synchronization with the sun. So in order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year.

But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, (who developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had) established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It established January 1 as the new year. However, in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon.

The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.

It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.

Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

Legend has it that the Chinese made the first fireworks in the 800s, filling bamboo shoots with gunpowder and exploding them at the New Year with the hope that the sound would scare away evil spirits. According to tradition, Marco Polo brought this technology back to Europe.

It's fair to say, however, that the origins of fireworks are shrouded in smoke; the China story is widespread, and possibly true, but fireworks may in fact have developed in India or the Arab world. Fireworks became known in Europe during the 1300s, probably after returning Crusaders brought them from the East.

Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

Mark Twain commenting on New Year's Day

In an effort to make this next year better than the last, millions vow to kick bad habits and improve themselves .

Unfortunately, most people make resolutions with the best intention of following through on them. However they usually do not get through March before they either forget the resolutions or put them off for “lack of time”. It's hard to change old habits, most people make resolutions and set goals either to start doing something on a daily basis or to stop doing something as long as they can.

A University of Washington study in 1997 found 47 percent of the 100 million adult Americans who make resolutions give up on their goals after two months. This figure has grown to 80 percent in the past decade, according to recent research completed at the University of Minnesota.

There are quite a few different sources claim to know what the top New Year's resolutions are that people make each year and the United States government is no exception!

According to the U.S. Government these are Popular New Year's Resolutions

  • Lose Weight/Get Fit/Eat Right
  • Manage Debt/Save Money
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get a Better Education
  • Drink Less Alcohol
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce Stress
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others

If those ‘government‘ resolutions aren't creative enough, or you like to think outside of the box, here are some other ideas for New Year's resolutions that are not included on the U.S. Government's list.

  • Get Prepared – Write a plan, make a kit, stay informed and aware, practice
  • Be responsible for yourself
  • Become as self-reliant as possible
  • Think for yourself
  • Organize your living space or just Get Organized
  • Stop procrastinating and wasting time
  • Relieve the stress in your life
  • Improve your relationships with your family and other people
  • Enjoy Life
  • Spend Time with Family
  • Learn Something New
  • Go Environmentally Conservative
  • Improve Community

Tips for Achieving New Year's Goals

While the statistics are grim, our intentions to make 2012 the best year yet aren't doomed. Experts agree that writing down resolutions, sharing goals with others and tracking your progress; can help you achieve success.

  • No matter which resolution is chosen, following through with achieving it can be a life changing experience for the better. Each year we are given an opportunity to start fresh with a new goal, and new inspiration of attaining it.
  • While some have the best of intentions, and try to make a genuine effort to change whatever needs to be improved in order to enhance their quality of life, others often give up shortly after determining their goals.
  • The percentage of those who actually reach their goals is quite low. Setting goals that are attainable is the best way to achieve success no matter what the resolution is. It is better to take small steps toward a goal than to set too big of a goal and give up altogether. Some change is better than none.
  • Decide on what is attainable and then take actions to achieve it. For example, instead of making a goal to lose 30 pounds, make a goal to lose 5 pounds. Once that is achieved, set another goal of losing 5 more pounds, that way success can be achieved and continued.

LinkRead on for more history on the traditions, celebrations and resolutions of old and new!!!

Prep On ;-}


PS - Here are my resolutions:

Think for myself
Blaze my own path
Treat others as I wish to be treated
Get even more self-reliant
Be even more prepared for the unexpected
Don't settle for 'the lesser of evils' - Don't 'settle' period!

Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tis the Season

Ah December, that month between giving thanks for the abundance of the harvest to shore us up through the “twilight” time of the year and the marking of the hope and promise of the new year ahead. Yep traditionally human-kind has had a good portion of our “holidays” between the seasons of fall and spring. This tells me that we were closely monitoring and relying on the cycles of the seasons.

“Thank you Creator for all the opportunities you have provided me with this year. I ask only for patience, tolerance and understanding toward all that You have created and the wisdom to grow and live with it in harmony and peace.”

Throughout history humans have created rituals to emphasize important transitional times in our lives. We mark and record these transitions on a regular basis based on the skies above our heads, to our own human designed calendars and create traditions. There is one common theme to our rituals, festivals and holy days throughout the ages, especially during winter – to be humble as we remind ourselves that humans are but a very miniscule part of the universe around us.

The Holiday Season in the month of December is not just about all the various spiritual observances. No instead we should remember that winter is celebrated all over the world with various celebrations, holidays and festivals that are linked to the solstice, in addition to religions and traditions.

My heritage and grandparents have given me a unique blend of Scotch/Irish Winter Solstice with a Yule log and the Roman Saturnalia, all mixed with “modern” Christianity.

Although neither set of grandparents had a tree in the house, they both decorated an outdoor “tree of green” with gifts from the harvest for our wild friends (seeds in cakes of lard, cranberries, popcorn, etc).

Small gifts of thanks and good will were exchanged between family members and close friends. Midnight mass or “prayer of thanks(depending on the weather) was a ritual common to both sides of the family. Above all was the hope of spring, better times ahead, saving grace and thanks for making it through the current year.

Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.

Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Make Your Own Reusable & Washable ‘Swifter’ Replacements

I don’t know about the rest of you but my city charges us by weight for our trash pickup. I also just hate having to keep using and tossing when I dust or mop, even though I love the convenience of not having to drag out a big mop and bucket or duster. Not only that, but thinking ahead to when I complete my move to the country, where there is NO weekly trash pick-up – well you can see my dilemma. My solution was to make my own ‘Swifter’ replacements that I can reuse and wash, instead of use and toss.

I usually purchase my micro fiber and ‘Sham-Wow’ type cloths at the dollar store. However, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, CVS, Eckerd, Target, K-Mart and Wal-Mart all carry them. I have found that the micro fiber that are for electronics and are anti-static, work the best for durability and dusting.

Micro Fiber ‘Swifter’ Duster


  • Microfiber cloth – at least 2 rectangles of cloth 7 ½ x 4 ½ and 2 rectangles of cloth 8” x 5”
  • Pinking Shears
  • Sewing machine & thread

1. Center a small and large rectangle then - Double stitch the middle of the layers of cloth together down the middle. Then zig-zag stitch over this. Do this for each ‘set’ rectangles.

2. Put at least 2 ‘sets’ of stitched cloth together, with the larger rectangles to the outside - ie: the larger pieces to the top and bottom, smaller pieces to the center.

3. Double stitch the middle of the ‘sets’ of cloth together down the middle. Then zig-zag stitch over this.

4. 1 1/2 inches from the center seam, on both sides of the center seam, sew another double seam. Just to the outside of these two new seams, zig-zag another seam. These may overlap. This will hold the “prongs” of your Swifter Duster.

5. Use pinking shears to cut strips of cloth. Stagger the cuts for each layer of cloth. Be careful NOT to cut your stitching that is for the handle prongs to the duster.

You now have a washable, reusable swifter duster and no longer have to keep purchasing and throwing out the disposable dusters.

For the Floor ‘Swifter’ Duster


  • Microfiber cloth – enough for at least 2 8 ½ x 11 ½ cloths
  • Pinking Shears
  • Sewing machine & thread

1. Use the pinking shears to cut as many 8 ½ x 11 ½ micro fiber cloths as you feel you may need.

2. Optional: Zig-zag stitch ½ inside the entire outer edge to prevent fraying.

These are your floor washable, reusable floor swifter cloths.

For your Wet ‘Swifter’


  • Sham-wow cloth – enough for at least two 8 ½ x 11 ½ cloths
  • Pinking Shears
  • Sewing machine & thread

1. Use the pinking shears to cut as many 8 ½ x 11 ½ ‘Sham-wow’ cloths as you feel you may need.

2. Optional: Zig-zag stitch ½ inside the entire outer edge to prevent fraying.

Use these for your washable, reusable wet swifter floor cloths.

For Floor Mops

Utilize a mop that has a washable, reusable mop head. They are made out of micro fiber or a material very similar to a Sham-wow. The following are the most well known:

  • Libman Microfiber Wonder Mop
  • O Ceder Microfiber Mop
  • Swobbit Aquazorber Mop (Sham-wow type mop)

So spend a little, invest a little 'craft' time and you can reap the money savings for a lifetime.

Prep On ;-}


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gift Ideas for Your Self-Reliant or Prepper Friends & Family

The holidays are here, be it Christmas or Hanukah. If you are shopping now for the special people on your list you might be wondering what to get these friends and family members. If they are the self-reliant or prepper type you might be a bit stymied to boot!

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

So here are some ideas to get you thinking.

“Stocking Stuffers” can be anything from a key-ring type multi-functional tool, first aid kit, compass or wind chill indicator to a tote bag that connects to your belt, purse or fits in your pocket so your friend can always have a bag or tool handy.

Go Bags, First Aid Kits, non-electric items or old fashioned toys and the like can be purchased from all kinds of places. If your friends sew, knit, crochet, can, reload, hunt, fish or whatever hobby they have, a Gift Certificate to their favorite store will be welcomed. Here are some places for the self-reliant/Prepper type that I feel you get the best bang for your dollar with:

  • Cumberland General Store ( is an American family owned and operated business with a commitment to providing you those hard-to-find back-to-basics items.
  • Lehman's, ( The supplier of the Amish. Tons of old fashioned home, kitchen, garden, ranch and farming tools as well as toys and games. Oil lamps and parts, handmade pottery and copper cookie cutters; wood-burning cook stoves and retro refrigerators; reminisce with wooden and tin toys, cast iron cookware, hand tools and water pumps.
  • Campmor ( Not just camping but anything wilderness and outdoors. Tents, sleeping bags, boots, tools, food, supplies and they have the most comprehensive first aid kits.
  • The Sportsman’s Guide ( Name says it all plus ammo, kits, tools, supplies and more.
  • Cheaper Than Dirt ( Ammunition, firearm parts & accessories, reloading equipment, kits, supplies and more.
  • Emergency Essentials ( Supplies, kits, food storage, tools and more. (An LDS best pick)
  • Walton Feed ( For open pollinated seeds and dehydrated foods (even gluten free).
  • SOL or Survive Outdoors Longer ( Has a full range of small to go-bag sized kits for emergencies and first aid and much much more …
  • American Red Cross Store ( Has a complete line of non-electric emergency radios, first aid and go-bag kits of all sizes and shapes and more …

The Can Organizer ( These handy devils are first in first out rotating storage containers for canned goods. There are three sizes to choose from and range from $12.00 to $16.00 for a package of 4.

Does your Prepper friend or family member have some “books” or other loved documents in digital format? If yes, you can have a few of them printed and bound at Staples or Office Depot and places like that as a gift to your self-reliant relative.

Magazine Subscriptions are another great gift especially if that Prepper family member lives in a different state than you. My favorites are:

If your friend has had a particular learning/training course in mind, but has stated that they don’t have the funds for the registration? Well then contact the sponsor of that course and ask if you can pay for it and offer it as a gift certificate or coupon of sorts. Your relative will love you for this!

Books are always a good choice, just be sure your family member or friend is a reader. If they are the self-reliant or Prepper type, they no doubt are.

Read on for a complete list see Gift Ideas at

Most people walk in and out of your life,
but FRIENDS leave footprints in your heart.

Ok I know I ’left some places out’. I didn’t mention Mother Earth News, Cabela’s, LL Bean, REI, Bass Pro Shop or the like because those places are expensive or just plain ‘yippie-yuppie’ and you can get just as good quality at the places I listed above (except for the boot that made LL Bean famous) for a whole lot less.

Nor did I mention any of the national department stores, as we all know what is available in our area with these, as well as what is available in any local independent store.

I also did not mention the magazine “The New Pioneer” presented by Country Almanac as it is an annual publication and I could not find a subscription source.

And I did not mention any of Ragnar Benson’s books – all of which are darn good. Some sources for his books can be found at: and,%20Ragnar or online in PDF format when you search for a particular title.

So use your imagination and listen closely when talking with your Prepper or self-reliant friends and family to get an idea of just what they are looking for. Then get them a gift they will cherish and use past the holiday season.

“The value of a man resides in what he gives
and not in what he is capable of receiving.”
Albert Einstein


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving & Harvest Thanks & Blessings

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Interested in some uncommon Thanksgiving history or some Fact or Fiction information? Then read on @ Thanksgiving & Harvest Thanks & Blessings

It is not happy people that are thankful.
It is thankful people that are happy.

Prep On ;-}


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Say Hello to 2nd Amendment TV & Security During A Crisis

There is a great site called 2nd Amendment TV that has loads of videos on various things, including Preparedness.

One series of videos that is very good is called Security During A Crisis. It has three parts and is worth every minute you listen and take notes.

Security During A Crisis Part 1 of 3 - How to protect yourself and others

Security During A Crisis Part 2 of 3 - Important factors to consider when trying to protect a fix location.

Security During A Crisis Part 3 of 3 - This is the actual plan on how to defend a fix location.

For additional Prepping and First Aid see:

What the Heck is a Prepper? (10:03)
How to Treat Gunshot & Knife Wounds (10:50)
Medical Kit pt.1 (9:46)

Medical Kit pt.2 (8:13)
Tools every prepper should have (2:38)

Top 5 Antibiotics for SHTF Storage (10:00)

A Complete Beginner's Guide to Handloading for your Rifle (45:03)

Does leaving your magazines loaded hurt them? (11:13)

Lots of great informational and instructional videos covering topics like:

Armed Citizens
Attacks on our rights

Citizen action
High performance
History LinkKids and guns






And one of my favorites is the U.S. Survival Rifle AR-7 (7:52)

"No power on earth can subjugate you
when you are armed with the sword"

Mahatma Gandhi

Read more @


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Armistice - Veterans - Remembrance Day

We Enjoy the Benefits of Freedom Because of the Warriors who Fought Before, and Those Fighting Today!!
We will continue to enjoy these Freedoms Because of the Warriors who Will Fight Tomorrow!!
Thank You!!
Thank the Creator for You!!
We Will Never Forget Your Sacrifices!!
May God Bless You and Yours Always!!

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." . Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938.

"[O]n November 11, 1918, there ended the most unnecessary, the most financially exhausting, and the most terribly fatal of all the wars that the world has ever known. Twenty millions of men and women, in that war, were killed outright, or died later from wounds. The Spanish influenza, admittedly caused by the War and nothing else, killed, in various lands, one hundred million persons more." Thomas Hall Shastid, 1927

Read on to find out when Armistice Day became Veterans Day, what other countries celebrate this day and how many veterans do we have in the U.S. today.

Then go out to THANK a veteran and soldier!

“Greater love than this no one has,
that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just How Prepared Are You? - Tests & Quizzes

Tests and Quizzes are rather unruly things, which rely heavily on how you interpret the question. That is why many tests ask the same questions worded differently to get a better idea of the understanding level of the ‘testee’.

With that principle in mind here are what I and my friends consider the best Preparedness or Readiness Quotient tests. They start out short and simple with Answer Keys that are rather precise and continue on to Self Assessment tests that let you decide just how ready you are based on the answers you provide.

Set aside a couple of ‘family nights’ and take a test or two each night. On your last night review how each of you did on the tests. Then plot out a preparedness plan, that works for you and yours, to address on the areas you find yourselves ‘short on’.

Remember that Disasters DO Happen! They come in all sizes, shapes and durations. They are not convenient and they will not wait until your family is all gathered at home ready and waiting.

When you take any of these quizzes imagine that a police officer knocks at your door. Some natural disaster is quickly approaching and you have 45 minutes MAX to evacuate...

  • How prepared are you for your Pets, Animals and Livestock?
  • How secure is your home for sheltering in place?
  • How Cyber Secure are you?
  • As a military family how prepared are you?
  • It’s cold and you have no fire. What would you do in order to keep warm?
  • A sever electrical storm occurs. Where is the safest place to be?
  • Do you know how to find the emergency broadcasting channel on the radio?
  • How will you and your family communicate in an emergency situation if you were separated?
  • If you need life-preserving medication, how long will your current supply last if it’s not immediately available?
  • Do you have a list of friends and family, boarding kennels or public evacuation shelters that are willing to take pets if you are evacuated?
  • Can the water valve be turned off by hand without the use of the tool? Do you have a tool if one is needed? What about natural gas?
  • Are all of your important documents in order and ready to go if you have to evacuate?
  • How many gallons of water per day does each person in your family need to survive?
  • If trapped in your car during a snowstorm, what's the best strategy?
  • In the event of an emergency, which agencies will accept your pets?
  • What kills more people on average than all other natural disasters combined?
  • Do all of your exterior doors have a good quality deadbolt lock with no less than a 1" throw?
  • Are all latch-strike plates on your exterior doors secured with at least 3" screws?
  • Does your overhead garage door, if equipped with an automatic opener, use a rolling code for signal transfer to defeat "code grabbers"?
  • Are all your bushes, trees and shrubs trimmed to eliminate areas for a person to hide near your doors and windows?
  • Do all your sliding glass doors have at least one of the following: track lock, insertion pin lock, hinged door bar, metal or wooden dowel in track?
  • Are all your windows secured with an auxiliary keyed, or hex screw window lock? Are the keys or hex keys readily available in an emergency? If you do not have keyed or hex screw locks, are your windows additionally secured by pins or nails?
  • Have your auxiliary window locks been installed to allow ventilation while maintaining security?
  • Do you backup computer files to an external hard drive or other media weekly?
  • Do you use wireless hot spots?
  • Is your primary Internet connection wireless?
  • What are currently Genetically Modified and commercialized foods?
  • Haven’t growers been grafting trees and hybridizing seeds for years? Isn’t this the same thing as genetic modification?
  • Have GMOs been proven to be safe for consumption?
  • How familiar are you with Alerts and warning systems in your community?
  • How often do you update your emergency supplies?
  • How often do you participate in some kind of fire or emergency drill?
  • Do you know what to do in the first 5 minutes of a crisis?
  • How much can you do on your own in the first 48, 72 or 120 hours after a major crisis?

What kind of Prepper are you? Well there are all kinds of course. Use the following to get the general idea of where you stand.

Unconscious: Insurance policies and first aid kits, other than that don’t think too much about it.

Novice: One or more of the following: at least a verbal family plan, go-bag, important documents book, 3 days of food/medical supplies, have researched what likely crises can occur where you live, are aware of other Preppers in your area, have smoke detectors but don’t know if the batteries are good.

Intermediate: The previous, plus one or more of the following: at least an outline of a written family plan, go-bag for each family member and pet, food/medical supplies for 7 days, emergency broadcast radio receiver, are familiar with the local emergency agencies and protocols, have emergency currency of at least several hundred to $1000 dollars, have a loose knit group of other Preppers, have smoke detectors and check the batteries twice a year.

Advanced: The previous, plus one or more of the following: a written family plan, go-bags for each family member and pet plus in each vehicle, food/medical supplies for at least a month up to 1yrs worth, an emergency band radio, some alternate power supply for cooking, lighting and heating, attend a class/seminar at least once a year on self-reliant skills at least once a year have a family disaster drill, are familiar with the local and state emergency agencies and protocols, have emergency currency of at least $1000 dollars in other than paper, have a group of other Preppers that share a secondary retreat and meet at least twice a year, have smoke and CO2 detectors and replace the batteries twice a year, have at least one fully charged fire extinguisher that is checked twice a year.

Expert: The previous, plus one or more of the following: written family plan is reviewed once a year, attend a class/seminar at least 2-3 times a year on a self-reliant skill, have family and or neighborhood crisis drills at least 2 to 3 times a year, have longer term food/medical supplies (2+yrs) and alternate heating, lighting and cooking supplies for up to 2 yrs., have 2-way emergency communications with independent power, are familiar with the local, state and national emergency agencies and protocols - plus have researched other global possibilities and monitor the status at least monthly, have emergency currency in other than paper of more than $1000 dollars, are a member of a group of other Preppers with a group secondary retreat and emergency protocols with activation practice at least twice a year, have working and checked smoke and CO2 detectors and several working and checked fire extinguishers and household fire drills at least twice a year.

LinkTo read the tests and review the answer keys see Just How Prepared Are You? - Tests & Quizzes

“A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

Proverbs 22:3


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall Back (tonight) - Spring Forward

On Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States.


Tonight we change our clocks

“Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life”

William Faulkner

Many fire departments encourage people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks because Daylight Saving Time provides a convenient reminder. "A working smoke detector more than doubles a person's chances of surviving a home fire," says William McNabb of the Troy Fire Department in Michigan.

More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.

For millennia, people have measured time based on the position of the sun; it was noon when the sun was highest in the sky. Sundials were used well into the Middle Ages, at which time mechanical clocks began to appear. Cities would set their town clock by measuring the position of the sun, but every city would be on a slightly different time.

The time indicated by the apparent sun on a sundial is called Apparent Solar Time, or true local time.

The time shown by the fictitious sun is called Mean Solar Time, or local mean time when measured in terms of any longitudinal meridian.

Although not punctual in the modern sense, ancient civilizations adjusted daily schedules to the sun more flexibly than modern DST does, often dividing daylight into twelve hours regardless of day length, so that each daylight hour was longer during summer. For example, Roman water clocks had different scales for different months of the year: at Rome's latitude the third hour from sunrise, hora tertia, started by modern standards at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes. After ancient times, equal-length civil hours eventually supplanted unequal, so civil time no longer varies by season. Unequal hours are still used in a few traditional settings, such as some Mount Athos monasteries and all Jewish ceremonies.

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Countries have different change dates.

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.

Who Does – Who Doesn’t

In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. In the EU, clocks change at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 12:59 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.

In the U.S., 2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time because it was practical and minimized disruption. Most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing. It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers are affected.

However, many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. At 2:00 a.m. in the fall, however, the time switches back one hour. So, can bars serve alcohol for that additional hour? Some states claim that bars actually stop serving liquor at 1:59 a.m., so they have already stopped serving when the time reverts to Standard Time. Other states get solve the problem by saying that liquor can be served until "two hours after midnight." In practice, however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the fall.

For the U.S. and its territories, Daylight Saving Time is NOT observed in Arizona and the Hopi Reservation, (which is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

The Navajo Nation participates in the Daylight Saving Time policy, even in Arizona, due to its large size and location in three states.

Most of the world (except for countries around the Equator) have implemented DST at one point or another.

Today, approximately 70 countries utilize Daylight Saving Time in at least a portion of the country. Japan, India, and China are the only major industrialized countries that do not observe some form of daylight saving.

Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes) generally do not observe Daylight Saving Time. Since the daylight hours are similar during every season, there is no advantage to moving clocks forward during the summer. China has had a single time zone since May 1, 1980, observing summer Daylight Saving Time from 1986 through 1991; they do not observe DST now.

Daylight saving time is now implemented in over seventy countries worldwide and affects over a billion people each year. Although many countries observe DST, the beginning and end dates are often different than the US. The European Union adopted the summer time period that was used in the United Kingdom for many years which begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.

In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.

Read on and see the timeline of Standard & Daylight Saving Time from the 1700's to today. Find out some interesting facts about Daylight Saving Time here in the U.S., around the world and just why doesn't Arizona switch to Daylight Saving Time.

When told the reason for Daylight Saving time the old Indian said,
"Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket
and have a longer blanket."

Author Unknown


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winter Preparedness & To-Do's

What could possibly need to be done in the winter? Plenty, yet most of the actual preparedness stuff should have been completed with your Fall To-Do's. If you haven't completed those yet, time is running out, so to be prepared, you better get a doing!

This rather long "little ditty" covers:

  • Why prepare for winter storms with a map of Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters 1980-2009
  • Long range winter weather forcasts for the U.S. for 2011-2012 (and yes there is a type-o on these years in the document. I am human after all)
  • Some interesting "Did You Know?" facts
  • Terms for winter watches and warnings and what each means
  • Different kinds of snowfall and ice
  • Winter and cold weather risks, in general, to humans and animals and what you can do about them
  • Personal, animal, pet and livestock safety
  • How to dress for winter (no not fashion tips, survival tips)
  • Winter fire hazards, prevention and safety
  • General safety for snow, ice, heaters, fireplaces, space heaters and holiday and the like
  • What to do before, during and after a winter storm, including how prevent and handle frozen pipes
  • Winter vehicle preparation, safety, driving tips, including what to do if trapped in your vehicle during a blizard
  • A list of resources

Although this is a rather long read, it is full of all my personal experience from living in "big snow" country (both urban and rural) as well as information from the pros on the various subjects. Between this article and the Fall To-Do's, there should be nothing you are not prepared for with the up coming winter season.

Winter Preparedness & To Do’s

and don't forget your Fall To Do’s - Preparing for Winter

Don’t Live Paranoid
Live Prepared!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) & Emergency Alert System (EAS)

LinkAnyone who knows me accepts that I do not trust ANY government, yet alone my own, any farther than I can spit. Yet these people also know that I despise sensationalism and lying by omission. So even when I don’t like someone or something, I want the whole truth and nothing but the truth out there. With that said, please read on and arm yourselves with the power of knowledge.

Growing up in the sixties and seventies, I remember radio and TV airplay being interrupted by "tests" run by the Emergency Broadcast System: "This is a test..." After reading the articleDid You Know Feds Will Temporarily Cut Off All TV and Radio Broadcasts on Nov. 9?”, it made me realize that I haven't heard these tests for quite some time and that there was a lot of information missing in this article which got me thinking and researching what was missing and WHY hadn’t I heard these broadcasts in awhile?

The Emergency Broadcast System was initiated in 1963 during the Kennedy Administration, to allow the president to address the entire nation in an emergency. The EBS was later further expanded through an interagency effort with the FCC, FEMA and the National Weather Service (NWS), to permit the system to be used for state and local emergencies.

Although the EBS system was established for national messages, many broadcasters and local officials recognized that the system could be used to notify listeners about local emergency situations. As of the beginning of 1996 the FCC had received 20,341 reported activations of EBS (since 1976). Approximately 85% of these activations were for weather related emergencies. The number of activations was most assuredly higher as stations were not required to report their usage of the system.

The system was never used for a nuclear emergency, though it was activated more than 20,000 times between 1976 and 1996 to broadcast civil emergency messages and warnings of severe weather hazards.

In 1996 a law was passed to replace the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) with the new fangled digital Emergency Alert System and EBS was officially retired in January 1998 (isn't there always an upgrade?). This resulted in a temporary (of several years) suspension of the mandatory tests.

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system in the United States put into place in 1996-98, superseding the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) and the CONELRAD System.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed the Emergency Alert System (EAS) so officials can (supposedly) quickly send out important emergency information targeted to a specific area.

This new system provides access to broadcast stations, cable systems and participating satellite programmers for the transmission of emergency messages (and less obtrusive weekly tests). The EAS uses digital codes developed by the National Weather Service (NWS). NWS offices can originate coded messages that are area specific and will only activate EAS decoders and send emergency warnings to people in the affected geographic area.

EAS has become part of IPAWS - the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, a program of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). EAS is jointly coordinated by FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service (NWS). EAS equipment must be FCC certified for use.

In 2004, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on whether EAS in its present form is the most effective mechanism for warning the American public of an emergency and if not, on how EAS can be improved, such as mandatory text messages to cell phones, regardless of subscription. As noted above, rules implemented by the FCC on July 12, 2007 provisionally endorse replacing the SAME protocol with CAP and allow governors to compel universal activation of the system within their own states.

Executive Order 13407 of June 26, 2006 Public Alert and Warning System “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) and the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended (6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.)( and established, as policy, the requirement for the United States to have an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people.

FEMA is designated, within the Department of Homeland Security, to implement the policy of the United States for a public alert and warning system as outlined in Executive Order 13407 and has established a program office to implement IPAWS. FEMA and its federal partners, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service and the DHS Science and Technology Directorate are working together to transform the national alert and warning system to enable rapid dissemination of authenticated alert information over as many communications channels as possible.

Once the nations radio and cable broadcasts went digital (satellite was already digital) in November of 2010, the FCC officially announced plans and procedures for national EAS tests On February 3, 2011, which will involve all television and radio stations connected to the EAS system, as well as all cable and satellite services in the United States. The national test will transmit and relay an EAS test message from the White House. The date for the first national EAS test is November 9, 2011.

So do our laws, bills and executive orders allow the U.S. government to:

  • Round up civilians and put them camps? – Yes. Has any past or current administration taken advantage of these loopholes to do so – NO.
  • Take control of the U.S. internet – Yes. Any past or current administration attempt to do so – NO.
  • Take control of U.S. broadcasting services – Yes. Any past or current administration attempt to do so – NO.
  • Take our property, homes and land – Yes. Any past or current administration attempt to do so – YES and they have, just NOT on a large nationwide scale.
  • Use multi-national cooperative military to “secure” the U.S. – Yes. Any past or current administration actually do so – Not unless you count NATO and other similar alliances and treaties.
  • Practice any of these “activities” – Yes and just about every past administration has done so, including the current.

So B.S. aside: No administration has taken wrongful advantage of the loopholes in our laws, executive orders or bills to actually do this and despite how much I detest our current government, there is no strong indication that it is planning to do wrong now. Personally I don’t think anyone populating our government (at any level) today, is stupid enough nor has the guts to start another American Revolution. They are not strong enough YET and they know it, so they won’t risk losing what power and control they already have.

Bottom line: We can run stupid and scared
or we can arm ourselves with knowledge
to run prepared.

Read more detail on this evolution of EBS to EAS


Monday, October 17, 2011

Good or Bad – Famous or Infamous - It's Halloween!

Halloween, celebrated on October 31, is a mix of ancient practices, rituals, festivals and European folk traditions that over time have blended together to create the holiday we know today.

Major contributors to today's Halloween, are:

  • Celtic holiday of Samhain
  • Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day
  • Roman festival of Feralia
  • Spain’s El Dia De Los Muertos 3 day celebration October 31-November 2. Also celebrated in Latin America and Mexico
  • England's Guy Fawkes Day

Halloween straddles the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death and is filled with mystery and magic; is it any wonder that it is a time of celebration and superstition?

Here are some great Halloween Fire & Safety Tips from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and the Red Cross:

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
  • From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights! Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, and heaters.
  • It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
  • If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
  • When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which may cover your eyes.
  • Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, and brooms and the edges of your cape!
  • Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
  • As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And speaking of streets, the corners are the place for trick or treaters to cross no mat¬ter their pace.)
  • You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! Between parked cars is no place to hide, be sure that you’re seen whether you’re a clown or a bride.
  • Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
  • You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
  • Have a grown-up inspect your candy when you’re done trick-or-treating to remove open packages and choking hazards before eating.

I personally am going to add:

ALL Adults should drive with caution on Halloween as many costumes are “dark” and hard to see. With the advent of electric cars, many “trick or treaters” will NOT hear these new fangled vehicles approach and may step out in front of them. This also means to leave your “texting and driving” until you return home or pull to side of the road to perform your functions.

Be Safe, Be Smart while enjoying the festivities in the dark!

Read on to discover the history behind jack-o-lanturns, costumes, candied apples, haunted houses, fright nights and more.

PS - On Sunday, November 6 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States. It used to end around the last Saturday night/Sunday morning before Halloween, which was a boon for trick-or-treaters. However, with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it was extended daylight-saving time (starting in 2007), from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. (Previously it was from April to October.)

Live On to Prep Another Day ;-}


Monday, October 10, 2011

Native American Preparedness

On September 19, 2011 FEMA officially launched is Ready Indian Country Preparedness Campaign. I wonder what took them so long?

FEMA Ready Indian Country
LinkFEMA Tribal Policy

Now I personally don’t trust ANY government any farther than I can spit – however there is some good information on the Ready.Gov web site to get people of all kinds going on being prepared. Although the Red Cross with its more detailed and specific information, is my top pick for government sanctioned type sites.

Although the government mostly replicated the text and only changed the images to various downloadable PDF’s from their Ready Indian Country site, the information is still good and worth it in my book. The government has attempted to ‘customize’ its PDF’s to regions, although for some reason they completely ignored the natives of Hawaii.

To native and other peoples alike, understand that the U.S. government still has not figured out that spiritual beliefs play an important role in preparedness (and everyday life) – so don’t be disappointed when you can’t find any of that kind of information in their documents.

For those of you that are interested, here are some links:

Brochure for Tribal Leaders

Readiness Planning

The FEMA Tribal Regions

Southwest Region
Southwest Individual/Family Brochure
LinkSouthwest Poster

Alaska Region
Alaska Individual/Family Brochure
Alaska Poster

Northwest Region
Northwest Individual/Family Brochure
LinkNorthwest Poster

Northern Plains Region
Northern Plains Individual/Family Brochure
Northern Plains Poster

Southern Plains Region
Southern Plains Individual/Family Brochure
LinkSouthern Plains Poster Link
Northeast Region
Northeast Individual/Family Brochure
Northeast Poster

Southeast Region
Southeast Individual/Family Brochure
Southeast Poster
Some other sites of interest are:

Native American Congress of American Indians Dept. of Homeland Security-emergency
State and Urban Area Homeland Security Strategy: Guidance on Aligning Strategies with the Emergency Preparedness Goal (2005/07/22)
Tribal Participation in the State and Urban Area Homeland Security Strategy

National Native American EMS Association

Although this is a California ‘institution’, they have some good information and may be able to offer “how-to’s” for getting something like this going in your area.
Native American Alliance for Emergency Preparedness-NAAEP-Indian Health Clinics Terrorism and Emergency Preparedness


PS – If anyone has links to some good Native American Preparedness sites let me know and I will add them to my blog ;-}